Lotus Elan

Fascinating Photo Taken in Cheshunt in 1963

PostPost by: paddy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:15 am

The Lot/us name story was stated to be true by someone senior (chief engineer?) when I went on the factory tour last year.
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PostPost by: rcfurse » Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:39 am

Clearly we are taking this topic slightly off the thread but . . . Anorak is a very English expression because it derives from a very English obsession. Train spotting. Anorak refers to the warmest outer layer clothing you could buy in the 60's.They were typically worn by train spotters who gathered on station platforms and noted down the serial numbers of engines (locomotives) passing through the station.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:00 pm

There's a similar picture in the Robinshaw /Ross book - page 107 in my copy, taken in late '63 of Elan's /Cortinas / Elites lined up in the same yard. The RnR one looks much more like it was set up rather than a normal working day but both of them must have been taken fairly close to each other as the bare trees in the background don't look to have changed much.
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:35 pm

I see what you mean. The scout hut has gone and the car park is empty, but yes very similar.
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PostPost by: JonB » Wed Jan 09, 2019 1:39 pm

Interesting how the Elan still looks contemporary today whereas most of the other cars we can see (particularly in the staff car park) have very dated looks.

Once again I find myself wanting a (baby) Elan. Can't afford it, though!
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:56 pm

It's amazing the bits of Lotus lore that artifacts in a single photo can evoke. More, I say!
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PostPost by: denicholls2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:13 pm

Lotus14S2 wrote:
Anything to make a sale. Some customers requested a custom color, so the sales department would gladly do so for an additional charge. Dealers wanted cars shipped in primer so they could paint to local tastes or customer request and pad the sale.
[/quote]

I believe it was in "Racing Car for the Road" that the author identified many U.S. import Elites as coming with paint jobs of abysmal quality. To be sold, they had to be stripped and repainted by the U.S. dealers, at their own expense. That was a big contributor to the Elite selling poorly.

At least I'm pretty sure I remember reading that somewhere. Might also explain the substantial Elite backlog in the photo.

If I were a dealer, I would much prefer to get the car in primer and save the cost of stripping or sanding a bad paint job prior to applying one on my own.
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:11 pm

I find it interesting that the Elans sitting beside the Anglia in the foreground are white, but the 3rd and 4th ones away from the Anglia appear to have hard tops. If this is truly a 1963 photo, I thought hard tops weren't available until Ser 2 model, according to the S1-S2-Coupe parts book. Perhaps another time the literature didn't match reality.

I also find it of interest the number of vehicles sitting on the ground-no wheels. Wonder what happened to the Elites in the photo? Supposedly some were just broken and scraped, such a shame.

Back when Lotus East was selling down its inventory, I bought 4 new B/O hubcaps. They came inside one another, stacked, with old English newspaper in between. Still have never been on a car. I'll bet there was such a stack in the boot of most of these cars.

I wonder about the orange tape over the bright work. Looks intentional.

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PostPost by: baileyman » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:23 pm

Are the primer cars the dull gray/blue, or is there and aged color photo effect here?

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PostPost by: prezoom » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:08 pm

Very interesting thread. Amazing what one can learn about how cars were shipped in various states of color. Cannot speak to my Lotus cars, as I have not taken either of them down to the gel coat. However, my Elva Coupe's original color was bronze, and my Sabra GT was white, all three layers of paint, and this was from the factory. The original owner never re-painted the car. Autocar, made it easy for a dealer to re-paint the car in a different color, by painting the engine compartment and underside a dove grey. Only the exterior and door jams needed changing.
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PostPost by: knockoffnut » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:40 pm

I was asking about the car parked behind the two white Lotus Cortinas at the top left of the photo. It looks to like perhaps it might be a black (or BRG?) racing Elite with white roundels on the doors. I thought someone might recognize it and be able to say definitively? (perhaps Tommy Dickson's car?) Regarding why cars were shipped in primer, I know that many Elans were shipped into Canada in primer, so that dealers could paint the cars in a colour a customer was willing to buy, and close the sale without waiting for a car to be built, and shipped across the ocean, and without a dealer needing to stock a high number these expensive, low production sportscars. I am sure that the orange tape would have been applied to protect the name plates and trim during shipping. It is still common practice today to wrap part or all of a new car for shipment from factory to dealer, to protect it. Audi has nice, zippered car covers for vehicle shipment, and I have often wondered where they end up after the cars are delivered.
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PostPost by: JimE » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:16 pm

And car covers on some of the Elites. I thought that was taboo for fibreglass cars. Jim
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PostPost by: elanner » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:14 pm

Elan45 wrote:I find it interesting that the Elans sitting beside the Anglia in the foreground are white, but the 3rd and 4th ones away from the Anglia appear to have hard tops. If this is truly a 1963 photo, I thought hard tops weren't available until Ser 2 model, according to the S1-S2-Coupe parts book. Perhaps another time the literature didn't match reality.


I also thought that hardtops were introduced with the S2 but recently noticed in the first edition workshop manual that they were (notionally, at least) available with the Elan 1600. Per the attached photo.

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elan-hardtop.jpg and
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PostPost by: Lotus14S2 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:41 pm

knockoffnut wrote:Outstanding historical picture! It does seem to support the idea that the earliest yellow Elans (built during the transition from Elite production to Elan production) were painted in Primrose yellow matching the yellow Elites. In those days I think production was running at 2 - 3 Elans per day, which would mean these three trucks would represent a week of Elan production.


The Elite shop manual states that the color on a yellow Elites was "Conway Yellow", a Ford color.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Jan 10, 2019 12:01 am

Great picture!

And I really dig the Morris Minor woodie next to Warren's Seven! :mrgreen:
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